For the record, it was Dugan who started referring to Bucky Barnes as “Mrs. Rogers.”
Also, for the record, Dugan and the rest of the boys did not give a rat’s ass as to whether a man had an eye for the dames or the fellas, especially after managing to live through several near-death experiences, to say nothing of how the good Sergeant had managed to save all of them more than once while they were HYDRA POW’s. Dugan knows that he would’ve been the next lab rat for the mad scientists to play with, if Barnes hadn’t gotten in the way first.
There were plenty of chickenshit officers in the war. Too many dumb fucks who couldn’t read a map, watched too many war movies, thought if they yelled their orders and kept yelling, they’d be able to pass muster with their men. So yeah, no, Dugan and the boys weren’t about to give up on the NCO’s and the few officers who did their jobs right, the few men that they’d actually follow into battle willingly.
So Dugan kept his yap shut about certain things. When the guys started chewing the rag, trying to pass the long seemingly endless hours of waiting between getting their asses blown off, wives and sweethearts were often a topic for discussion. Everyone had their say - except Sergeant Barnes, who’d just grinned and made some sort of wiseass remark to deflect.
So most everyone in their platoon wondered who Sergeant Barnes’ mysterious sweetheart was, if he even had one. But of course he had one, because he’d made more than one English dame blush and go all a-twitter and hell, they’d all seen him sweet-talk the dames, but never really take it far beyond simple flirting. So it stood to reason that a guy like that definitely had a sweetheart waiting for him at home.
There was a betting pool. Of course there was - Dugan had a good deal of money riding on it too.
It wasn’t until just a month or so before they were captured that Dugan won that pool.
Barnes finally cracked and spoke about his baby - yeah, that was what he said, “My baby’s home safe, thank God.” He gets all poetical about his baby, too - it was sweet. Sunshine hair and eyes like a summer sky. A smile to take a man out at the knees. Smart and sassy, a real firecracker, for all that she was a tiny thing. An art student, classy and too good for him but hell, he ain’t about to question his good luck.
Stephanie. He shortens it to Stevie, which was a funny nickname for a dame but hell with it. It was her name and maybe Dugan’s gotten his heart broken in the past, what with getting a Dear John letter right before he shipped out, but he knew how it felt like, having this one name, the most beautiful name in the world. Barnes gets all funny when he says her name, saying it with a wry twist to his lips, like there was some joke there that only he got.
But then, their lives actually go from FUBAR to being flat out in a comic book, what with being rescued by Captain America, getting into giant-ass super tanks that would make Panzers cry for their mommas, shooting big ass ray guns like Buck Rogers. Shit, their new Captain’s real name was Rogers and he’s like some sort of real life Superman, what with the crazy super strength.
And one would think, a guy like this, there’s gotta be a catch. Maybe he’d be the kind of chickenshit officer Dugan and the boys have seen before, all about the rank and the pretty medals. But he’s not. He leads them out of enemy lines, makes sure the sick and the wounded get to ride on their stolen vehicles, gets everything squared away for everyone. Sets up the watch properly, somehow knows each and everyone of them by name, does these ridiculous, quiet, little kind things that mean the world to a fella whose head is already screwed over by this fucking war. A fucking, actual hero, the kind a guy would follow into hell and back for.
Later on, Dugan and the boys get a chance to know Steven Rogers for real. They learn that he and Sergeant Barnes were best friends since they were kids and funny how Dugan remembers that sometimes Barnes talks about “Stevie” and then corrects himself and says, “My buddy Steve.” They learn that he used to be a ninety pound asthmatic who pretty much could pick up every sickness under the sun but somehow made it past twenty.
They learn that he really is that endlessly kind and they could get him to blush easy, but he’ll laugh it off and shoot back nonsense with the rest of them, sassing back with ease. They learn that he can draw and they can make him blush even more by asking him to draw pin-ups, maybe a request for somebody like Rita Hayworth. Steve’s rendering of sweet Rita was something a fella could take into his dreams.
And Dugan gets to thinking. Blonde hair. Blue eyes. Firecracker Irish temper. Sees the way he lights up like sunshine in Barnes’ company. Watches how Sergeant Barnes looks at him like he’s the center of his universe. Fusses over him like he’s still ninety pounds, yells at him when he thinks “Stevie” is being a “colossal, reckless punk taking too many damn risks; I don’t care if you’re Captain Fucking America, you ain’t getting yourself killed on my watch, you hear me?”
Stephanie. Steven. Stevie.
Wasn’t hard to put two and two together after that.
So Dugan and the boys, they’re sitting together with a cuppa coffee and maybe something a bit stronger - Jim’s good at getting stuff like that. And Cap and Sarge are at the medics, both walking wounded because they’d gotten hit covering for each other and arguing like they’ve been married fifty years along the way.
"Looks like somebody’s gonna be sleepin’ outside the tent tonight, fellas," Gabe says wryly.
"Mrs. Rogers ain’t happy, that’s for certain," Dugan observes.
Monty’s lips twitch. “He’ll never win an argument with the ol’ Trouble and Strife. Best he learn that right early.”
Dernier snorts. They’ve all picked up French because of him, so it isn’t hard to translate, You think Captain Barnes is going to give up that easy? Adorable cabbages, the both of them.
Jim snickers. “Just another SNRFB situation, fellas. Nothing to worry about. Mom and Pops ain’t gonna divorce on us.”
Dugan raises a hand. “I’m living with Mom then, if they do divorce.”
"Somebody has to look after Pops then," Jim sighs dramatically. "Might as well be me, I guess."
They all look at each other. It doesn’t really need to be said. They’ve all figured it out for themselves. They’re still going to follow their Captain and Sergeant straight into the jaws of hell anyway. Spit at the red-skulled devil himself along the way.
Monty raises a tin cup for a toast. “To Mrs. Rogers and Captain Barnes then. All our best wishes for a long and happy marriage.”
They laugh and they toast to it.
For the record, “SNRFB” was not an acceptable response when asked for a report.
Also, the little Bucky Bear that Gabe managed to get for Barnes as a joke, was not the youngest baby of “Mrs. Rogers and Captain Barnes.”
"I’m a teddy bear," Barnes had said flatly.
Rogers grins. “He’s awful cute, though.” And cuddles said bear close with a goofy grin. The bear even has a replica of Barnes’ blue coat.
"A fucking, honest to god teddy bear."
"Aw, Bucks, you’re still cuter than the bear. It ain’t taking your place in my heart."
"You can sleep with the bear tonight then."
Truth was, Rogers doesn’t stay in the doghouse for long. And the bear becomes the team mascot anyway. It was Rogers who gave it a field promotion to Corporal and even sewed on the appropriate stripes to its jacket.
Colonel Phillips still doesn’t recognize Corporal Bucky Bear’s position in his army but it got Agent Carter to laugh and that’s something.
- end -